German-born poet Hermann Hesse notes that "to live is to be alone. No man knows the next man, each is alone." And tepidly placed over a midnight screen, Friday Night Plans' newest release "All The Dots" shares the quote in its opening sequence, congregating a sombre ambiance with an all-too familiar feel.
Centered on 23-year-old female vocalist Masumi, the visuals flow seamlessly with the Tepppei produced track—enticing in its lyricism and evocative in its execution. Masumi states that she wrote "All The Dots" after realizing how much she had been hurt and tied up with fear; "The whole picture showed up [in my mind] and I saw what was happening to me when I connected all the memories like a constellation," she shares. "There is a lyric that says 'Thought that I was mine' on the song. I think everyone might have experiences where bad memories control your mind and you feel like you can't move the way you want your body to. I hope you remember that you are the only one who can save yourself."
Sharing both Japanese and Filipina heritage, Masumi's ties to "All the Dots" shines a light on the social issues in developing nations in Asia, focusing on loneliness. Shot in Thailand yet depicting a more generic image of South East Asia, the visual was directed by film and art director Osrin, from acclaimed Tokyo production collective PERIMETRON. The video see's Masumi's visit into what could be her 'other' life.
"I had been to Thailand twice prior to this shoot, and my general impression of the country was that the people are very kind but also there is a dark and gloomy side in the culture as well," Osrin muses of the visuals captured. "I had heard lots of stories about politics and the culture from a friend of mine who is a Japanese coordinator that lives there. I got to speak to some girls that work at the brothels about their upbringing and surroundings too. They are born into exploitation.
The 'norm' in Thailand came as a surprise to me. It might be because my point of view is from the outside, but the distinct line of lightness and darkness served as a massive inspiration for me. I believe that regardless of differences in cultural surroundings, we all have loneliness in common. It's all just a series of dots, nothing more, nothing less. However, it is important to accept loneliness without negativity and consciously coexist with others despite the fact that we all are alone."
Unconsciously, the folk-tinged melancholy of "All The Dots" rounds up the aforementioned prevalent themes; from the soul-sucking croons to the lush lo-fi licks, Friday Night Plans conceives a track that not only consolidates loneliness, but also a glimmer of hope, in believing in yourself.
Friday Night Plans have looked at the dizzying shifts of the globalized pop landscape and realized that the only possible way forward is not to second guess trends or pander to the lowest common denominators, but to be emphatically themselves. From pop to international R&B to underground electronica and jazz–Friday Night Plans convey their feelings through intense lyricism and a vision that spans art, fashion, film and music for an intoxicating result. Truly, the group are on the frontier of a new global pop scene, where international stars could easily be singing in Hindi, Spanish, Korean, Arabic or a combination thereof, as English.